U.S. Secretary of State Blinken to visit Ukraine next week
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CBS News on April 29 that he will visit Ukraine in the next week. In an interview with CBS News that will air on the show 60 Minutes on May 2, Blinken also discussed the Russian military buildup along the Ukrainian border. He noted that the U.S. can confirm some troop withdrawals from the area.
Russia’s military has claimed that most of its troops involved in the exercises have returned to their posts. Apnews.com reports that Russia’s Chief of the General Staff, General Valery Gerasimov, announced on April 29 that over 300,000 troops had been involved.
James Hydzik: Blinken’s visit is expected because of the recent maneuvers and the upcoming meeting between the U.S. and Russian presidents. But regional security and geopolitics are not the only topics for the Secretary to broach. The April 29 dismissal of Andriy Kobolev from the post of Naftogaz CEO, which has been roundly criticized by western ambassadors in Ukraine, will give a pretext for a discussion of Ukraine’s domestic issues. Ukraine’s reform and governance progress will be a constant refrain in Ukraine – U.S. talks for the duration of the Biden administration in all but the most dire of circumstances. Since the security situation is still tense and is likely to be until after the Russian military’s autumn exercises, the Ukrainian side will be paying attention. What Ukraine does after these conversations is less clear.